Communications firms brace for Isaac's impact

What are companies doing in the Florida region to prevent communication disruption?

Tropical Storm Isaac is edging towards the coast of Florida, and is predicted to become a Category 1 hurricane. Anticipating Isaac, communications companies are readying their networks for disruption.

Sprint Nextel is bracing for impact -- having set a network disaster recovery team and emergency response team in place, as well as fortifying its Florida network.

sprint verizon networks hurricane isaac

Ahead of the hurricane season, the wireless communication company has invested close to $140 million to expand its networks in Florida, including close to $40 million in Orlando and over $45 million in the Miami-West Palm Beach region. In order to protect its business from disruption, the firm has made sure 70 percent of its Florida networks are equipped with permanent generators in case of the loss of local power.

In addition, all permanent generators are fully fueled, portable generators are ready and waiting to go and 'strike' teams are on standby to conduct emergency repairs.

Corporate and government companies who use network Points of Presence (POP) to route traffic through Sprint's IP network for data services have also been considered; each POP now fully fueled in case of hurricane damage.

Sprint is not the only company anticipating disruption to wireless networks. Verizon has also begun fortifying its network and physical assets in Florida.

Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon's operations president for Florida said:

"Maintaining our customers' communications services while ensuring our employees' safety is our overriding priority with a situation like this. We will be ready for any potentially severe conditions and will marshal our assets to keep as much of our operating territory in service as possible."

Generators in Florida are being tested, fuel tanks checked, and vehicles that will transport emergency materials in the case of damage caused by Isaac are on standby out of flood-prone areas. Restoration teams are in place, but the company suggests hard-wired telephones are the best option -- as wireless models are unlikely to work during a power outage.

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